Somewhere amidst the frosty tundra of northern Canada, a musk ox (yes one of those vast and curmudgeonly beasts) is missing a little of its tummy fluff. Not very much of its tummy-fluff you understand, not enough to leave it with a shivery abdomen, for the musk ox is extremely well-insulated and tends to moult its excess in spring. But just a few grams, sufficient to make… oh I don’t know… maybe a cowl for someone in the frosty – er – “tundra” of south Oxfordshire.
All I can say is thank you, Mr or Mrs musk ox. And thank you again to my father-in-law, the Gregarious Grandfather, for providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bury my senses in the fur of such a marvellous arctic beast. The qiviut cowl is finished! Nah, that doesn’t fully convey my excitement over this fact. How about, THE COWL IS FINISHED!!!! It’s a Smokering – a lacy but simple pattern that shows off the slight ombre in the yarn quite wonderfully. I’m wearing it in our chilly house as I write this and I feel both warm (at least in the neck area – everything else is shivering) and at one with the musk ox.
Is it obvious how gorgeous this yarn is? Perhaps not from a photo. Let me explain. If I laid this 34-gram cowl on your hand, you’d scarcely notice its weight, but instead feel the most gentle, floaty sensation on your skin. Qiviut doesn’t shrink so it isn’t prone to felting, but I have to say that a little of the oxen grumpiness remains in the yarn and it did tend to scramble itself into felt-like tangled messes rather too easily as I wound it and worked it. Am I complaining? No of course I’m not, because I have this:- And within this happy, simple pattern, there is lace, although it’s hard to make out the details in the fluff-fest above. Here’s another shot:- Some people say that qiviut is a nicer (and altogether more amenable) experience when it’s blended with silk or summat. And yes, this might make the yarn a little more biddable, but I can honestly say that putting on a pure qiviut garment is absolute heaven. Well worth the grumpiness, I say. *Meanwhile, if you’re in the UK, don’t forget the Stylecraft yarn designing competition! I’m so excited to be on the judging panel that will look over all your entries. Go on, let your imagination go wild! In case you can’t make out the details from my little photo, everything you need to know to enter is here.*